Manager Simon Grayson heaped praise on substitute Joe Garner after his hat-trick set up a fourth round tie with Billy Davies’ Nottingham Forest.
‘Garns’ scored a 21-minute treble to become the first player in PNE history to score a hat-trick after coming off the bench, to dump Mick McCarthy’s Championship high-flyers out of the FA Cup.
North End came from behind to beat the Tractor Boys, with Garner scoring twice in a minute, either side of the second half’s midway point, before scoring the winner with two minutes left on the clock.
After the game the manager played down his decision to bring on his top scorer, giving all the credit to the 13-goal hitman, whose three goals was the first hat-trick of his professional career.
“Bringing Joe Garner isn’t a gamble – he’s our leading scorer; likewise Mick’s decision to bring McGoldrick on wasn’t a gamble,” the gaffer told the press. “You make these decisions to try and get back into the game and we had to show character after going a goal down because Ipswich could have passed the ball round and made it difficult for us, but we got back into it.
“We made a few mistakes, but so did Ipswich and this all contributed to a good night.
“Declan made a mistake, which have been few and far between this season, but the game then came to life a little bit. The players upped the tempo – we hadn’t passed the ball quick enough at times, from front to back or in midfield areas, switching play quick enough – but that goal lit the touch paper for everyone to enjoy the night and turn it into a real cup tie, because the first half certainly wasn’t that!
“The first goal seemed to take an age to go in; he [Joe Garner] had a free header and it just went through a load of bodies and ended up in the back of the net. Josh is half claiming it, but Joe is certainly claiming it and I think it has just gone straight in, which gives us a lifeline to get back into the game and we then got the next one quickly.
“This was a good finish and we were really at it, at that point, however, another mistake allowed McGoldrick in and you can’t allow good strikers that kind of space in the box.
“But Joe deserved the hat-trick; he’s had a good season so far, been our leading goalscorer, and you could see the tempo increase when he came on the pitch.”
The game was North End’s fourth game against a Championship side this season, setting up a fifth, and they again showed that the level was one that the Lilywhites would be comfortable playing at.
The manager made seven changes to the side that lost to Wolves at the weekend and even though it took the visitors opener to get the game going, they never looked a league apart from their Premier League chasing opponents.
“We are delighted to beat a good Championship team,” continued Grayson. ”They obviously made a few changes, like we did, but it was a typical Cup tie, particularly the second half.
“I didn’t think there was too much between the sides in the first half; both teams passed the ball nicely without having too much end product in the final third, but it livened up with a few mistakes in the second half and I am delighted we ran out winners.”
The win sets up a mouth-watering fourth round tie, an 8pm kick-off on Friday 24th January, with North End facing off against their former manager Billy Davies, something the current boss thinks gives the game a proper FA Cup feel.
“It will be a good atmosphere at the City Ground in the next round.
“Obviously it’s Billy Davies, who was the manager here, but we just wanted to get back on track. Put the disappointment of the weekend behind us, try and get a win straight away and now we have set ourselves up for the weekend against Coventry, which is a bigger game tonight.
“We would swap a result tonight for a victory at the weekend, because the league is the priority, but winning breeds success and when you win, you get that correct mentality and we wanted to get back onto it quickly,” he added.